Intellectual Property, Competition and Human Rights: the past, the present and the future

Abbe Brown, Charlotte Waelde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The “Intellectual Property, Competition and Human Rights” research stream at the AHRC Research Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law (the Centre) was set up in response to growing concern as to the present scope, and even existence of intellectual property (IP). There has been increasing recourse, in case law, commentary and activism, to human rights and competition to remould, resituate, or replace, IP. The purpose of this research is to consider the extent to which these fields could be combined, at both academic and practical levels, to produce flexible, sustainable, national and international solutions. Initial research identified that while there was significant work ongoing as to the proper role of IP and its association with competition and human rights; the place in economics and competition of human rights and social policy; and an opening of debate as to the relevance of human rights in the commercial sphere, there was no substantial work on the interrelationship of the three fields. Further, the moving of IP to centre stage in national politics, leading to free trade agreements reinforcing and expanding the parameters of the rights, together with the possible need for an international enforcement mechanism, brought the World Trade Organisation into the equation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-421
Number of pages5
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2005
EventTowards Utopia or Irreconcilable Tensions? The interface between intellectual property, competition and human rights - Playfair Library Hall, Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 2 Dec 20043 Dec 2004


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